Those Minor Regrets

Adrian Matejka

after Lynda Hull

                We ran Carriage House East
nonstop like a bunch of hungry mouths—

in jacking-jawing & ravenous orbits—

                & the huffing in the throat stack

& double-ply knee cracks as we slid
                Toughskin thick past the dented

                 buckets on blocks & lover-graffitied
walls, one after another in industrious,

planetary circuitry. All that symmetry,

                all that sectioned happenstance
jangling our poked-out vertebrae

& empty middles & the sun shone
                clearly against the plastic wrapping

                the chocolate bar I slipped into
my pocket at the Village Pantry.

Garrett said, Man, just take it & I did.
                My first disobedient accident.

                My first calculable maleficence
back when I still wanted
                to be an astronaut—in a space

shuttle jetting through stars strobing
                as brightly as the front-row
kids we clowned habitually.

                Right before my nearsightedness
                made blurs from local brick,

extension cords & raised hands
                from branches & leaves.

                Right in front of my stomach’s

tricky punch, right below the busted
                harmony of heart beats

where I sewed a mail-order NASA patch
thinking Cynthia might like it.
                Even the front-row kids

made fun of me. None of it mattered.

                I was in bed too early
for that hypocrisy or for burglars

                doubled in their masks.
Everyone I knew was a trivial thief.

Even after our thin utilities
                cut off, some more broke neighbor

tried to break into our slender dark—

                window frame bent over
a screwdriver in a rusty frown

                like the sad, redheaded guy—

                no place to be, resting
on the same Washington Square

bench where we waited for the cops
to answer my mother’s 911.

After every break in, to the mall—

safety in the splendor of big cookies
                & pretzel salt, that spinning

disco ball in Spencer’s window
                the closest things to another
                planet I can remember.


This is one of two poems by Adrian Matejka. Click to read "It's Hot in Indianapolis, Basquiat".